Australia’s rugby union national team made headlines for all the wrong reasons this week when Wallabies five-eighth Quade Cooper was found guilty by the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) disciplinary panel and was hit with a ridiculous fine in the process.
Cooper’s $60,000 fine and three-match suspension is lighter than it initially seemed, but it is a hefty, hefty price to pay for a social media rant.
38 caps from four years of Wallabies experience, Cooper was said to have twice broken the ARU’s code of conduct in September when he criticised the ARU, the Wallabies and an ARU computer game over Twitter and in a television interview.
The outburst, which occurred over a five day period saw Cooper describe the Wallabies setup as toxic, saying the situation was “destroying him as a person” while claiming he would not represent his country in the future.
His comments regarding an ARU computer game earned him a $10,000 fine while he received $50,000 and three-matches for the toxic related comments.
However, the sanctions aren’t as bad as they appear on paper. $20,000 of the fine has been suspended, as has the game suspensions which included Super Rugby and Tests, pending future behaviour.
Cooper was fined $7,500 in 2010 for burglary charges he was not convicted of.
Cooper talked to media after his hearing saying, “It was a very fair hearing, and I am very happy with the outcome and obviously the sentence that’s been handed to me, I have full respect for that.”
“I understand I fell well below par of what it means to be a Wallaby and for all the supporters that are out there, my apologies.”
Though there have been rumours suggesting the five-eighth would seek a switch to rugby league, Cooper confirmed he would remain with his current code.
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